With three matches of the 2007-08 season played, Manchester United had picked up the grand total of two points from a possible nine. It actually left them just one place above the relegation zone.
In contrast, visiting Boro, who were managed by former England international Gareth Southgate, had won just two of their opening 10 Premier League encounters.
So, when United's summer signing Nani put the home side in front with just three minutes on the clock with a dipping effort from distance that left Mark Schwarzer no chance, it appeared that the home side were going to cruise to a routine victory.
It proved to be a momentarily lapse, though, as United went into the break 2-1 up thanks to a mistake by Boro winger Stewart Downing, who gifted the ball straight to Wayne Rooney on the edge of the area. From there, the England striker powered the ball into the net.
The second half belonged to another of Ferguson's recent recruits - Carlos Tevez. The Argentine scored United's third of the afternoon following an exchange of passes with Rooney, before the attacking duo linked again to ensure the outcome five minutes from time.
"Boro made it difficult for us, they came back well to make it 1-1. We expect to start the game with a lot of quality and enthusiasm, and usually when we do that the game becomes easier. That was not the case today," United's assistant manager Carlos Quieroz said during his post-match interview. "We regained out composure, first touch and movement and we started to control things and deserved the win."
Meanwhile, Southgate added: "We wanted to come here and have a go. We scored and created a couple of good chances. Today was a shot to nothing. In the end their class told. But for a long time in the first half it was tight.
"We had a very young side and sometimes mistakes will happen, but our young players were outstanding today and they are a shining light."
MAN UNITED: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand (Pique 73), Vidic, O'Shea; Ronaldo, Hargreaves (Fletcher 66), Anderson (Giggs 78), Nani; Rooney, Tevez
BORO: Schwarzer; Young, Woodgate, Wheater, Taylor; O'Neil, Cattermole (Boateng 90), Rochemback, Downing; Aliadiere (Hutchinson 56), Sanli (Lee 80)